For those who absolutely loved the six-season series, Downton Abbey, following the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family in the early 20th century, you might wonder to yourself what it would be like to be a part of the series. Well, there is the next best thing – visiting the locations the series was filmed at. At these locations, you can get a real feel for the architecture and the experience of Downton Abbey. Many of the locations are old chateaux scattered around Great Britain, which makes for a great road trip holiday.
Wentworth Woodhouse (Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham in South Yorkshire) was the chosen location to shoot the ballroom scenes in the series. Harewood House, which was the location used for outdoor shots and many of the other scenes in the iconic series just didn’t have a room that could deliver what the producers wanted. The ballroom is exquisite and the house is full of rich historical architecture. Wentworth Woodhouse is considered to be the largest private residence in the entire United Kingdom. It has over 300 rooms and 250,000 square feet of floor space. Tours can be pre-booked online and there are several events hosted at the site throughout the year.
A very large part of the series and the subsequent feature film was filmed at Highclere Castle. Though the production team visited many locations in England, this was the first they scouted. It fit the profile so well, they simply had to return to it. It is the actual home of Lord and Lady Carnarvon, though tours are available to the public. This estate in Hampshire boasts 61 bedrooms – enough to fit the extended family and then some. Highclere Castle is also rich with history, being one of the locations that King Edward II stayed at in 1320. From then, it passed from family to family and hosted many high profile people, like the 4th Earl of Carnarvon during the drafting of the British North America Act of 1867, essentially founding Canada.
Cogges Manor Farm
Chosen as the setting for the series’ Yew Tree Farm, this farmstead is open to the public and has been revived due to the increase in visitor numbers. There you can visit the kitchen and grounds and feel like you’re a part of the Drewe family. The farmstead in Oxfordshire also offers a petting zoo where you can see sheep and chicken who may be direct descendants of those that were featured in the series.
The site has a history of its own having been farmed since the 13th century. Much of the architecture consists of preserved Cotswold stone which is a feast for the eyes.
Home to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, Alnwick Castle (located in the town of Alnwick) was a tough nut to crack – no other series or film had ever been shot at this location. At least there are tours offered there so the public can partake in its wonder as well. The interior is stunning, but many of the series’ scenes were pushed to the outdoors, which shows the magnitude and beauty of this historic building. This castle began construction in 1056, so you can just imagine how much has gone on there since then.